When Treating Clients for Aches and Pains, Keep it Cool!


Reach for the menthol when massage clients seek relief from aches and pains. Derived either from natural sources, including peppermint and eucalyptus plants, or produced synthetically, menthol provides a wide range of soothing and stimulating properties.

Menthol, considered one of nature’s most effective analgesics or natural pain relievers, activates transient receptor of potential melastatin 8 (TRPM8) receptors on sensory nerves and on the vasculature inducing a cooling sensation on the skin. [1]

Menthol’s cooling sensation helps to relieve pain in the tissues underneath the skin. As such, menthol topical (for use on the skin) is used to provide temporary relief of minor arthritis pain, backache, muscles or joint pain, or painful bruises.[2]


Fire & Ice Treatment

Rejuvenate mind and body with this circulation boosting contrast therapy that features Polar Lotion, which includes Menthol. Help clients decrease pain and increase circulation to areas of injury and restricted blood flow by utilizing alternating hot and cold packs. Learn to customize this effective therapy by incorporating essential oils, massage products and techniques that will enhance your intended therapeutic goals



  • Polar Lotion (1 oz)
  • Replenishing Light Massage Oil (2 oz)
  • Eucalyptus Oil (10 Drops)



  • 2 -3 Hot Packs – Can be a Hydrocollator pack, hot water bottle, microwavable pack or a Hotshotz
  • 2 – 3 Cold Packs
  • 2 hand towels
  • Rubber Spa Bowl (optional for Replenishing Light Massage Oil & Eucalyptus mix)


1. Have the client supine on the massage table.
2. Perform a quick overall body stretch including arms
across the chest, knees up to chest, hip circles, IT band stretch and hamstrings stretch.
3. Do a full body rock including flexion extension of the feet.
4. Place a hot pack under the client’s neck.
5. Place cold pack across the client’s chest.
6. While the Hot and Cold Packs Stay in place gently massage the face, scalp and neck. 3 min.
7. Rotate the Hot and Cold Packs
8. While the Hot and Cold Packs stay in place, use the Replenishing Light Massage Oil to perform long hand to shoulder effleurage strokes on both arms. 3 min.
9. Using the Second Set of Hot and Cold Packs, place the Hot Pack on the abdomen and the Cold Pack under the sacrum.
10. While the hot and cold packs stay in place, massage the client’s sternum, intercostal muscles and thoracic cage including gentle compressions.
11. Rotate the hot and cold packs.
12. While the Hot and Cold Packs stay in place, use the Replenishing Light Massage Oil to perform long foot to hip effleurage strokes on both legs. 3 min.
13. Remove the packs and have to client turn to a prone position.
14. Use the Replenishing Light Massage Oil to perform long effleurage strokes from the shoulder to the sacrum, continuing the movement to the hips and legs. 5 – 10 min.
15. Use Polar Lotion on any areas of congestion or pain in combination with direct pressure.
16. Perform a gentle stretching.


The use of hot and cold individually is a very safe and beneficial add-on to any therapy assuming proper precautions are taken. A few things any therapist utilizing thermal therapy should be aware of are:

  • Do not apply heat to fresh injuries that are still hot, red or inflamed.
  • Never place a hot/cold pack or hot stones directly on the client’s skin. A towel or terrycloth cover should be placed between the pack and the client’s skin and hot stones should always be moving and never left sitting on the client’s body.
  • Cryotherapy (cold) should not be used on clients who have hypertension or ischemia. Hypertension already causes vasoconstriction and ischemic limbs already have a reduction in blood flow to tissues.
  • It is important to monitor temperatures closely when working with the client with neuropathy as they will be unable to feel whether or not the temperature being applied is too hot or too cold. This puts them at risk for heat or ice burn.


[1] Craighead DH, Alexander LM. Topical menthol increases cutaneous blood flow. Microvasc Res. 2016 Sep;107:39-45. doi: 10.1016/j.mvr.2016.04.010. Epub 2016 Apr 27. PMID: 27131832; PMCID: PMC5406845.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27131832/
[2] “Menthol Topical,” University of Michigan Health, Michigan Medicine, Accessed July 22, 2021. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/d03665t1
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